Far-out dreams that the Capitals would take part in back-to-back Winter Classic appear to be dead. Realistically, they could return in a year or two, but the 2012 event is set to feature the Flyers and Rangers.
According to Wayne Fish of the Bucks County Courier Times, the NHL has chosen Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia for the next Winter Classic – featuring the Atlantic Division rivals. It’s scheduled to be Monday, Jan. 2, because Jan. 1 is an NFL Sunday.
Citizens Bank Park is the venue of choice because the Eagles and Redskins play Jan. 1 at Lincoln Financial Field across the street in South Philadelphia.
NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and others in the league office have said they prefer NFL stadiums – like last season with the Caps and Penguins at Heinz Field – and iconic baseball ones – like the previous year with the Flyers and Bruins at Fenway Park.
But the Phillies’ ballpark will undoubtedly sell out, even if the game is on a Monday afternoon in the middle of winter.
HBO is reportedly set to reprise 24/7, which won an Emmy last year while featuring Washington and Pittsburgh. With Philadelphia being a front-runner for 2012 for a long time, Flyers coach Peter Laviolette said he’d welcome the network’s cameras into his locker room for a chance to be back in the Winter Classic.
“I would rather avoid a camera than jump in front of one,” Laviolette said in January. “But I can tell you this: Man, I love that Winter Classic, and I sure would love to play in another one.”